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Signs We Are In An Improving Job Market

The population executive/retained search works with has to be defined for this post - at the very least, we are looking for people that are well educated and experienced.  By education, we mean a 4-year degree or higher. By experience, we usually mean at least 10 years. Commonly, we want more than that.

The BLS, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, comes out with a monthly unemployment number.  For this past month (December, 2013), the overall rate dropped to 6.7%. Economists will debate the true meaning of this number; they will debate the statistics behind the number (labor participation rate, etc.). From a historical perspective (long-term), this number is high. From a more recent perspective, this number is going in the right direction (it was over 10% not that long ago).

The BLS comes out with a little known chart on the same day they announce their macro-unemployment number. It's labeled Table A-4 - Employment Status of the Civilian Population 25 Years and Over by Educational Attainment.  (I am sure there is an acronym - it is a government chart after all.). The chart can be found at We, bluntly, look at one number - the rate for people that are 25 and over with a 4-year degree or higher. It is currently at 3.3%. This is full employment by any definition.

There is more . . . . .

HR Magazine (a SHRM publication), has an article in their January 2014 edition titled, "More Americans Quitting Jobs." The story behind the headline is the assumption that people are growing more confident in their job prospects. They feel that they can leave their position before securing a new role.

Non-salary demands of job seekers are on the rise. An article appearing on, "How an Improved 2014 Economy Affects Recruiting" (by Ken Sundheim) discussed this phenomenon. Negotiations by candidates are expanding to include more work from home and reimbursement for things they would normally pay for (health care, parking, gym membership, etc.).

Demand for recruiters is on the rise. Paul DeBettignies (find him at @MNHeadhunter) has been commenting in Blogs and on twitter about the number of new recruiter jobs that are being posted. And last evening at an HR Executive Forum event, a recruiter that places contract HR people commented about the growing need in this area - to get recruiters for company expansion projects.

Blind Men and the Elephant

We each see things differently. We all know the story referenced above (google it if you are wondering what we are talking about). We can look at unemployment numbers and be very concerned. We can look and see positive trends. And if you are unemployed, you are at 100%. That said, the market is heating up. There are data and study-driven leading indicators saying this should continue. Check out these two items . . . . . you don't need to believe me:

More to come in future Blog posts. (And coming soon - words from our guest Blog writers!)